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A green film festival you can enjoy at home

Film festivals are great for spotlighting up-and-coming talent, and highlighting niche topics. The conventional film festival isn’t, however, a good vehicle for creating wide-scale conversations, as audiences are limited by location and/or willingness to travel during a specific time period. After two years of hosting the Do Something Reel film festival in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market recognized these limitations: they could inspire festival-goers to consider the environmental and food-related messages of the films screened, but most of those audience members would be from the local area.

So, how does a festival organizer broaden the discussion? For Do Something Reel, the answer was to take the festival online. This year, films will be screened in Austin, but also made available for viewing through the festival’s web site for a one-week period. The festival will also be stretched out in terms of time: one film will be shown each month for the rest of the year.

The first film featured with this new format will be Mary Mazzio’s THE APPLE PUSHERS, which will debut at the festival. Narrated by Edward Norton, the film “follows five immigrant street-cart vendors who are offering fruits and vegetables in New York neighborhoods where fresh produce isn’t widely available.” A discussion will follow the Austin screening; viewers can also watch that online, or attend another live screening in Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh or San Francisco. Other films scheduled include Mark Decena’s WATERSHED (narrated by our own Robert Redford), Taggart Siegel’s QUEEN OF THE SUN: WHAT THE BEES ARE TELLING US, and Ian Cheney’s TRUCK FARM.

You will have to buy a “ticket” to watch the films online, but the money goes to a good cause: all festival proceeds help fund two $25,000 AFI Silverdocs grants for green documentary filmmakers.

Been to Do Something Reel? Like the idea of moving the festival online (or don’t)? Share your thoughts with us.

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Image credit: Still from THE APPLE PUSHERS, courtesy of Do Something Reel